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  1. #1
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    Slow Network Access

    My new Toshiba Satellite laptop is running WinXP Pro. My pre-existing setup consists of two PCs running Win98 and Win98SE with a parallel printer connected to each one, networked together, thru a hub, with a peer-to-peer Windows network. The two older PCs have no problem accessing the shared C: drive on each PC. However when, on the WinXP PC, I try for example to drag a file from an older PC to the WinXP PC, there are big delays. For example, if I right-click on a file on the other PC in Windows Explorer it takes 10-15 seconds for the click to be acknowledged and another 10-15 seconds for the Copy to take place when I click Copy in the right-click menu.

    I've read about the Win2k "Scheduled Tasks" registry entry and I've found and deleted it in my WinXP registry today and that did reduce the delays involved -- the delays used to be more than 30 seocnds.

    Any idea how to reduce these delays?

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Hi Bill,

    Does this happen only the first time you access a share on another computer, and then not again? And did you use the XP network setup wizard on your 98 PCs, or something else?

    I don't know how familiar you are with networking settings so I will keep this simple. If you need more assistance please let us know by replying to this post.

    Three things that I would check:
    1. <LI>Make sure all PCs are members of the same workgroup. XP defaults to MSHOME while all other Windows versions default to WORKGROUP.
      <LI>Remove any unnecessary protocols - all you should need is TCP/IP over your network adapter. Don't change any dial-up settings.
      <LI>Set a static IP address for each computer. It can be anything you choose, really, although I would personally opt for something in the 192.68.xx.xx range. Just a personal preference.
    Important thing to remember!!!!! If you set static IP addresses and have file sharing enabled, please please please use a decent firewall. XP has one built in but it's hard to configure. Home Networking
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.firewallguide.com/>Home Firewall Guide</A>

    Hopefully this will give you enough to get your speed problem fixed.
    -Mark

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    I seem to recall that XP likes static IP addresses for peer-peer nets in the range 192.168.0.1 to 192.168.0.254

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Mark,

    <hr>Does this happen only the first time you access a share on another computer, and then not again?<hr>
    No, it happens all the time.

    <hr>And did you use the XP network setup wizard on your 98 PCs, or something else?<hr>
    The network on the Win98 PCs has been in use for a long time. It uses the ICS feature in one of the PCs to handle Internet access. When I plugged the Ethernet cable into the built-in NIC in the WinXP laptop and started it up it was able to communicate on the network without any problem except the delays! So, I really haven't done any network setup recently.

    <hr>Make sure all PCs are members of the same workgroup. XP defaults to MSHOME while all other Windows versions default to WORKGROUP.<hr>
    My WinXP Pro came with the "workgroup" workgroup name so I didn't have to do anything. (I've seen a message that said that only XP Home comes with the MSHOME workgroup.)

    <hr>Remove any unnecessary protocols - all you should need is TCP/IP over your network adapter. Don't change any dial-up settings.<hr>
    I've checked all three PCs and TCP/IP is the only protocol configured.

    <hr>Set a static IP address for each computer. It can be anything you choose, really, although I would personally opt for something in the 192.68.xx.xx range. Just a personal preference.<hr>
    I believe that dynamic IP addresses are currently being used. Can static addresses be used in a network that uses the ICS feature in a Win98SE PC? If so, can you tell me where all I have to set the static addresses?

    <hr>If you set static IP addresses and have file sharing enabled, please please please use a decent firewall.<hr>
    I've been meaning to download ZoneAlarm for a good while. I'll certainly do that now. I've noticed that WinXP has a built-in firewall but I don't know anything about it and my ICS host is running Win98SE.

    Thanks for the information links.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Bill, I'd like to make a suggestion since you are running a hub. I'm assuming that you are sharing a broadband connection - e.g. cable, DSL. If all computers are connected via CAT-5 (Ethernet) cable to the hub, disable ICS. Let each computer access the hub in its own time. You should have a firewall on each - ZoneAlarm, if that's your preference <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>. The fact that you are having slow reponses every time the network is accessed is good - consistent problems are easier to troubleshoot than sporadic ones and this suggests that it is a software setting.

    I'd recommend running the XP Networking Wizard and performing the same steps on each computer. Do it on the XP box first, and at the end of the wizard, it will prompt you to create a floppy. Do that, and take the floppy to each 98 machine and run the networking wizard on them as well.

    You want to make sure that you choose the option in the wizard that states that you are using a hub. You'll get a warning that M$ doesn't really want you to do that but this is YOUR network, not theirs. Installing the wizard on the 98 PCs will require a reboot.

    To change IP addresses for the copmputers, you will need to go to the properties of the network connection in XP, and in 98 you will right-click on Network Neighborhood, select properties, and then modify the TCP/IP -> Network Card entry. The addresses can be whatever you want, but as Moniq posted, the 192.168.xx.xx range is purported to give better results.

    Another note, you should disable the XP firewall before you install ZoneAlarm. While it's effective, it really is a pain in the neck to configure, and ZA provides nice little popups for each network connection and program that wants network access. You can use static IPs with ICS, but I really do think that ICS is a half-baked implementation designed to provide a feature in the usual Microsoft fashion - it works, but there are better choices.
    -Mark

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Mark,

    ## Bill, I'd like to make a suggestion since you are running a hub. I'm assuming that you are sharing a broadband connection - e.g. cable, DSL. If all computers are connected via CAT-5 (Ethernet) cable to the hub, disable ICS. Let each computer access the hub in its own time. ##

    No, I'm using a normal 56K dial-up modem on the desktop PC for all access to the Internet! I do have Cat-5 cable from each PC to the hub.

    I'll try the other things you suggested but I'm going to wait and see if you think they are still appropriate after seeing the information above.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    OK. Here's what I would suggest then - if it doesn't work you can always go back.

    The PC that is used for Internet access....connect its CAT-5 to the "Uplink" on the hub. Plug the other two PCs into other ports - remember that you cannot use port 1, next to the uplink, because the two are cross-wired inside the hub. Remove ICS and run the XP wizard. This time, however, the PC with the Internet connection is the gateway PC, and the others share the connection through the hub.

    Also, if you could post details on your current connection method (geekspeak: Network Topology) it would be extremely helpful in tracking the problem down, I believe.
    -Mark

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Mark,

    ## ...connect its CAT-5 to the "Uplink" on the hub. ...##
    OK, I'll try that during the next day or two. That's a configuration that I have never heard of!

    ## Also, if you could post details on your current connection method (geekspeak: Network Topology) it would be extremely helpful in tracking the problem down, I believe. ##
    I'm not real sure what details you are looking for. I'll supply some and you can ask for any additional things that might be helpful.

    Actually, I have 4 PCs on the network but the old 486 Gateway running Win95 is powered up only on rare occasions. Will it work in the new network configuration? Maybe I better get prepared before making the change if it won't.

    1. IBM Aptiva (330 MHz) running Win98SE and a 10/100 NIC card.
    2. Toshiba Satellite 4020CDT (300 MHz) running Win98 and a 10/100 PCMCIA Ethernet card.
    3. Tohsiba Satellite 1800 (1 GHz) running WinXP Pro with a built-in 10/100 Ethernet interface.
    4. Gateway 2000 (slow!) running Win95 with a 10/100 NIC card.

    The Gateway has not been powered up since the WinXP machine was connected to the network. The others use only TCP/IP protocol (I haven't checked the Gateway). Each has a Cat-5 cable connected to a 4-port "10Base-T/100Base-TX Dual Speed Repeater" from Hawking.

    I don't know what else I can tell you about my network. Let me know if there are other details you would like to know.

    BTW, there other times when the WinXP machine seems to be totally tied up doing something invisible. For example, after plugging my DeskJet 520 printer into the WinXP machine and powering it up I opened the Printers dialog and double-clicked Add Printer. It must have taken well over a minute for the Add Printer dialog to open! When I tried it again just now the Add Printer dialog opened immediately. It does print fine when the printer is directly connected.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Mark:

    Are you sure that will work? The uplink port is the same as a cross-over connect to a standard port. Normally a station can NOT use the uplink port, just another hub.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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    Re: Slow Network Access

    I'm basing this on my situation at the office, which is similar.

    Hub #1 connects three PCs, and the uplink port on it is attached to a Novell server. The fourth port runs to another hub in another room, connecting to its uplink port. This secondary hub serves two systems in this manner. Aside from the version of Novell I have to contend with it works beautifully.

    I don't know if I was very clear on what I intended here. What I want Bill to try is to use the PC with the modem as the "server" in the above scenario, connecting its network cable to the uplink, and then the other two systems would connect on ports 2-4 since port 1 cannot be used in conjunction with the uplink.
    -Mark

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Hi Bill

    Couple of things that may help.

    1)Check reliability of Laptop NIC
    a)From XP Command Prompt type the command
    <font color=blue>net statistics workstation</font color=blue>

    b)Try some network activity, eg. browsing one of the W98 PCs.

    c)Repeat the above command

    d)Look for any error statistics that have incremented. If "network errors" has incremented, then you may have a flaky cable or connection. Try swapping cables and see if the problem moves.

    2)Change XP QOS setting
    This is less likely to fix your problem, but, there have been <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.lockergnome.com/issues/techspecialist/20011205.html>reports</A> of delays in Microsoft Networking (ie. your internal Lan) being fixed with this.

    See "Think I'm Nuts" in the above link for details on changing QOS settings.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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    Re: Slow Network Access

    I've run through your #1 suggestion. The network errors has remained 0 throughout the test. There were some other values, other than the Bytes and Block data, that were not 0:

    Connections made: 39
    Sessions started: 54
    Failed operations: 18
    Use Count: 24
    everything else: 0

    The Failed operations was 10 when I looked at the first set of statistics.

    I read the article you referenced in #2 and I enabled QOS and set its value to 0. As you suspected, I didn't see any effect from this change.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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    Re: Slow Network Access

    You should not be seeing Failed Operations on a local LAN unless you are getting collisions (unlikely on a 2 node test with 100Tx). I think we need to drill down a level.

    We are going to run more XT command prompt tests.

    For the purposes of this example I am assuming you have a PC named "STAT1" with a share of "C".

    From the command prompt window type the command
    <font color=blue>netstat -s</font color=blue>
    Record the information shown

    Now type the command (replacing the host and share name as needed)
    <font color=blue>dir STAT1C /S</font color=blue>

    Finally repeat the command
    <font color=blue>netstat -s</font color=blue>
    And record the differences shown. There should be no errors with just two stations active.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Bill:

    I have just re-read this entire thread and I am starting to feel there may be a problem specific to your XP notebook. The simple way to check this is to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to start the Task Manager and then select the Performance tab.

    On my XP system, with effectively nothing active except this browser window I show only 0-1% busy in idle state and avg 2% peak 8% busy running the same test to a W98 Celeron 400 system. If your idle or busy states are substantially different from this then you have some background job that is messing up your system.
    <big><big><font color=blue>Ian</font color=blue></big></big>
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    Re: Slow Network Access

    Ian, when you said "running the same test to a W98" I've assumed that you are referring to the netstat test you described in your previous message and that the WinXP PC should be doing a DIR on another PC on my network (not on the WinXP). BTW, there are normally 3 active PCs on my network, the WinXP plus a Win98 and a Win98SE. During my test the Win98 was running but not doing anything, the Win98SE is my ICS host and it was not doing anything except its ICS host duties with the dial-up connection connected, and the WinXP was running the test.

    Before and after the netstat test the idle value runs between 2% and 4% and sometimes hits 1% and maybe 5%. During the DIR test the busy time seemed to act differently during different parts of the test -- the test took 10-20 minutes I would guess. During the early stages and the last stages there were frequent bursts that had peaks around 60% and valleys around 20% and occasional idles of 1-4% and an occasional short peak up to about 90%. In the middle, when it seemed to be reporting Internet files, it would run 20%-60% bursts of about 70 seconds and then 1%-4% idle time of 45-60 seconds. It alternated between these burst and idle segments fairly consistently for at least 10 minutes. Each time it began one of those idle segments the display was at the summary line (nnn Files mmmmm Bytes) for a folder. I captured the before and after data by piping the netstat command output into text files. I have recorded all the numbers that changed in a second column in the attached file. If you display this file in the Courier font or an equivalent the columns should line up properly.

    If this is not exactly the test you were looking for or if there are additional test I can run, please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Bill
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